A hedge fund manager I met recently told me what he thought was the difference between the way the Indian and Chinese economies have been growing. As part of a team with a US hedge fund scouting around for high-growth deals in emerging Asian economies, he said he’s amazed at the entrepreneurial energy in India.
He told me that while in China the growth has been government driven and backed by the state, in India, it has come from the zeal of thousands of business owners who work to overcome obstacles that government rules create for private enterprise in India. In fact, he compared the dynamism in India with the United States.
I have to say I completely agree. I meet many business start ups and social change leaders as part of my work. And, everywhere you go these days in Delhi, you end up meeting somebody who’s shunned ‘normal’ to create something out of just an idea. Just last week, I spoke to somebody who’s running a courier service that only employs deaf adults in Mumbai. A neighbour recently left a high-paying job with a retail giant to try and set up a free ambulance emergency service in Gurgaon, a fast-growing Delhi suburb that houses India’s largest corporate offices. Another friend is looking to move back from the US to set up stores that sell exotic wine labels across Delhi.
What’s great is that I could go on and on with similar examples. There’s an unmistakable desire for people to set up something of their own, a far cry from the days when business was looked down on in India. We need to nurture this sentiment, and create environments for their growth.